Special Career Moments
I know that traditionally this is the space where I should talk about my credentials, achievements and claims of authority, but I’ve decided to do it differently.
Instead, I want to share some career highs and lows which have touched me deeply, not just for the success they have brought me but for the deeper awareness and growth I have gained from these special moments.
Watching Neale Donald Walsch’s jaw drop in amazement.
I was fired from the clinic where I was working as a Chiropractor because I wasn’t complying with the ‘conveyer-belt’ philosophy that was being practiced there. Free from any attachments, I had the crazy idea to sell everything and travel to the USA, doing free talks on the topic of a book I was reading at the time called, ‘Conversations with God,’ by Neale Donald Walsch. Contrary to the title, these books having nothing to do with the religious God that most people attribute to that word.
The books inspired me, and I wanted to work with Neale to get trained as a facilitator. However, there was a snag. His Leadership training cost $12,000, and I didn’t have the money. I decided to ask for donations during my USA tour, and I proceeded to complete 50 mini-workshops in 30 states in under 3 months. The final evening of my presentations took place a couple of weeks before the Leadership training began. Quite synchronistically, I had raised a total of $12,050! Not only that, I now knew his material inside and out. After speaking and answering questions about his message every night for nearly 3 months, I was an expert on his writings.
The final part of the Leadership training was to sit in a hot seat and get bombarded by deep and complex questions about life from an expert panel that included four others plus Neale. Needless to say, I nailed it, and so much so that the room responded with a stunned silence. The video recording of the session showed Neale’s jaw drop open in a dramatic pause, staring in disbelief.
Christian… you can articulate these messages as well as, if not better, than I can… you have a profound depth of understanding of this material.”
Neale Donald Walsch, New York Times best selling author of Conversations with God
Facilitating my first deep-dive residential retreat in 2004, in the Hamptons, New York, and losing $100,000.
After leaving Neale’s Leadership Training on a high, filled with indomitable spirit, I decided to put on two events so big, so huge that they would have sky-rocketed me to instant ‘guru’ status. However, I soon realized that I was getting way ahead of myself and life came in to swiftly humble me.
I planned two events, one in the gloriously expensive Hamptons, New York, and the other in Cancun, Mexico. I booked out the hotels, signed the contract, borrowed the money for the deposits and entered into the world of event creation completely blind. I thought a simple email to my small list would fill those events with ease. The cost? Only $2000 per ticket! Neale had agreed to come and speak as a guest speaker, so what could go wrong?
I learned that guest speakers don’t fill an event, and most people on my list that were used to getting things from me for free were not expecting a $2000 ticket price. I had no marketing knowledge, no list, and yet my name was on both contracts. I managed to get out of the Cancun arrangement, but my Hamptons event had passed the ‘cancel’ date, and I was committed. I also arranged an Emmy Award winning songwriter to fly from LA to offer live music at this event, costing me a pretty penny.
Well, the event was spectacular! However, I ended up losing $100,000 on this venture as I just couldn’t fill all the seats. It did teach me some hard-earned lessons. It brought me down to earth and taught me the concept of due-diligence. But the biggest lesson came from my mentor, Jerry.
Jerry had loaned me the deposit for the event, and I remember the guilt I felt while I prepared to get on the phone and tell him about my failure. His response?
“Christian, I knew the moment I sent you that money that I would never get it back. It was an investment. I would rather you lose $10,000 today than lose $10,000,000 in the future, when the stakes are much higher. Better to learn this lesson early.”
I was so grateful for this lesson, although my confidence was shattered for the next 5 years as I put all my earnings each month toward paying off the hotel debt. I could have filed for bankruptcy or just defaulted on the payments. But I could tell that this lesson needed to enter every cell of my being because without it, Heart IQ™ and my dreams would have never been realized.
Being initiated into circle work.
In March 2006, I was hired by the ‘Conversations with God Foundation' to run a weekend retreat that was a part of their Australian Leadership Education Program. My weekend was part of a larger two-week training that involved other facilitators, including Tej Steiner, who would eventually become a mentor of mine.
Tej is a brilliant man. He’s a visionary ‘social architect’ who has dedicated his life to creating models that bring people into their heart - models that I use in my work to this day. I was excited to be working with him for the first time and was looking forward to experiencing his ‘Heart Circle Model,’ which he was demonstrating during his portion of the training.
Although Tej and I eventually became close, it didn’t start out that way.
My event began with everyone sitting in a U-shape formation with me at the front. At this time of my life, my facilitation style was the traditional ‘teacher in front of the room,’ and I used an authoritarian, confrontation-based approach. I was still quite heady and not yet embodied in my heart, so it was hard for me to really tune-in and feel people on the more subtle levels as I do today. However, what I didn’t have in emotional sensitivity, I made up for with my passion, drive and clarity.
I remember the first night having an exchange with one of the participants, and I pushed her too far. Tej didn’t say anything at the time, but the air was tense.
On the final day, what happened was probably the most challenging moment of my facilitating career. I was in dialogue with the same participant, and once again, I was wearing my ‘confrontational hat.’ Intuitively, I knew it was going to end well, but in the moment, it looked like it was going nowhere. It seemed we were at an impasse. Now, after doing countless retreats, I had been in moments like this before and knew where it was heading, but before I could continue, Tej couldn’t hold back any longer, and he interrupted the process.
“I’m sorry, I can’t let this continue,” he said. “This woman is clearly going into shock and I can’t, in full integrity, sit here and let this happen.”
The whole room went quiet. I tuned in and got present. I knew that what I was going to say and do right then would determine the outcome of the entire retreat and the experience that the participants would remember. I took a breath and asked Tej what he wanted.
He said, “I want us to all get into circle, and I would like to take over and continue the retreat.”
Talk about having the rug pulled from under my feet. From my perspective, I had two choices. I could either stand my ground or let him take over. I chose to make a stand. Why? Everything in my life up to that point had taught me to meet my challenges head-on rather than to collapse and give up. I knew I had the resources to handle this moment.
Through standing my ground gently yet firmly, Tej relaxed enough for the retreat to proceed. Later that day, he expressed his newfound respect for me as a facilitator, after showing that I could hold it all together in a critical moment and not cave in.
Watching Tej weave his magic during his portion of the event over the next four days was simply breath-taking. He was absolutely right. His model, method and approach was far superior to what I was doing back then. However, I didn’t regret my decision to hold my ground when he wanted to take over my retreat. I was glad I had the strength to claim my value, but I’m also glad I had the courage to stay and see his. By the end of the first day, I knew I wanted to learn everything I could about Tej’s approach and master the Heart Circle Model.
After my first retreat with Tej, I decided to immediately apply the circle format to the retreat I had scheduled in Bali just two weeks later, with 38 people! Tej recommended I start with no more than 20.
He was right. The event nearly killed me! The amount of energy it took to hold, contain and guide an amplified field of 38 different frequencies was enormous, especially as this was the first time I had ever tried it. Most people start with a few friends in their lounge. Not me! I dived from the highest diving board in the pool and did a massive belly flop. Ouch! But that’s how I do it in my life. I throw myself into the deep end and trust that life will hold and support me.
Winning the Britain’s Next Top Coach contest
My big break occurred with the win of Britain’s Next Top Coach in 2009, although for different reasons than many people think. It wasn’t the prize that changed my business nor the exposure it gave me. Instead, the competition reinvigorated my belief in myself, that I could make it. It also reinvigorated my belief in the vision that I could make a living from Heart IQ™ - that it was wanted and needed.
My business partner at the time forwarded me the email late in 2008, which contained an invitation to join the competition. When I read it, I was immediately filled with dread and cynicism.
“A coaching competition? How cheesy!” I thought.
But then I noticed the terror in my stomach. It brought me right back to an old fear of losing and being ridiculed. But something in me told me to do it, to take part. I’ve learned it’s vital to my healing and success that I need to confront these feelings head-on and take in the medicine, so I took a breath and filled out the application form.
Of course, I’m very glad I did. The competition forced me to clarify my message and to learn about being on video. The world was watching, and I needed to show up big. There were several stages to the competition, but the final stage was the most intense. I was asked to do a 10-minute coaching session and bring a client to completion on a single video take - no edits, no re-shoots. Yikes! This video was then put online for the public to vote on, along with videos of the other finalists.
Doing a competition like this is like standing naked in front of the world. By putting my heart and skill out there for everyone to see and vote on, I felt incredibly vulnerable. What’s more, I had an invasive hip surgery during this time, and as a result, was bed-bound and medicated for much of the preparation phase. In fact, in the semi-final, where each contestant needed to present a 15-minute talk, I went on stage and felt so checked-out that I completely threw away my planned presentation and made one up on the spot.
In spite of the challenges, I was determined to win the competition. This was my chance to finally achieve my dreams and become successful. I was intent on ending the 5-year lull since my big loss at the Hampton's event in 2004. I’m happy to share that my dream came true! I can still remember receiving the call in my bedroom when I was told the news that I had won! In fact, my final video received 52% of the votes which came from 91 different countries. And the prize? A media and production package valued at $150,000.
Interviewing my mentor Jerry at my first Heart Summit
As Heart IQ™ was becoming more and more popular, the community was growing fast. I had the idea to create a global gathering called the Heart Summit to bring us all together. The vision was simple: to connect, heal, get inspired and party!
The first event in Miami was an absolute blast. Using the best A/V production company in the world, we spared no expense. This was the Hamptons event all over again, except this time, it was successful! We had some great guest speakers, such as Bo Eason and Tej Steiner, but the memory I’ll take away forever is my live interview from the stage with my mentor, Jerry. Jerry is an incredible human being and so very humble. He’s not written any books or tried to get into the limelight. He lives a quiet life, yet hidden behind a deceptively ordinary veil lies a powerful and enlightened soul. Jerry has guided me for much of my adult life and has been the role model I have used when defining what a Heart Intelligent human being looks like.
For those wishing to know more about Jerry and my journey with him, you can watch the full interview here:
Having my parents come on stage during the Heart Summit.
Although that first Heart Summit in Miami will always be a special memory for me, the experience that I cherish the most occurred during the December 2013 Heart Summit, which my parents attended. At the end of the event, I invited both my parents onto the stage with me as I shared my gratitude for their influence over the course of my life.
I feel blessed to have felt what I did that day … a sense of being seen in my greatness and feeling the pride and awe that shown through my parents’ eyes. In that moment, I instantly felt complete and decades of past ‘stuff’ was healed in me as I was witnessed doing what I was born to do. I wish everyone could have this opportunity - it truly was the most amazing gift.
The cherry on the cake occurred when I went home for Christmas, which I spent alone with my parents and grandparents. We had our first family Heart Circle - which if you knew my family, you would understand just how miraculous this was! I had never before felt so connected to them. It showed me how this work could spread - without words, without push and without anyone needing to ‘get it.’
I was born to do this work and share it with the world. It’s been a hard journey, but I am grateful beyond words to have the privilege to serve in this way. I hope I can inspire you on your journey with Heart IQ™ so you can experience just a little of the magic that has touched and transformed my life.
Want To Participate In The Next Heart Summit? Click here.